Medication Mondays: Ativan

We have time for one last Medication Monday before Christmas. But regardless of where you are with your Christmas prep, there is no need to be anxious because this week we are talking about the anti-anxiety medication Ativan (Lorazepam). 

Ativan is a medication belonging to the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It acts by raising gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of communication between brain cells. The impact of this is to reduce anxiety, which is why it is used to manage anxiety disorders and to control anxiety before surgery. 

Yet as with most mental health medication, it also has some side effects. They include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, blurred vision, changes in sexual interest or ability, constipation, heartburn, or a change in appetite. Your doctor should be told if you have any of these side effects.

Worse still, if you suddenly stop using this medication, it may lead to withdrawal symptoms. These can include seizures, trouble sleeping, mental/mood changes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, hallucinations, numbness/tingling of arms and legs, muscle pain, fast heartbeat, short-term memory loss, very high fever, and increased reactions to stimuli such as noise and light. To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may decide to slowly lower your dose.

The side effects and possible withdrawal symptoms underline the point that I make at the end of every Medication Monday, which is that any questions or concerns about this medication should be directed to your doctor. Medication Monday is meant simply as a brief informative introduction to these medications. However, it is not meant to be substituted for medical advice. 

 

And as always, thanks for reading.

 

Source: WebMD: Ativan

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